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Adding, Removing, and Managing Programs in Windows 7

Uninstalling Programs

To remove an installed Windows program, open Control Panel and click Uninstall A Program. (You’ll find that under the Programs heading.) The list of programs you can uninstall does not include usage information, but it does list the size of each program. Click the program you want to remove, or select it and click Uninstall/Change.

Here are some basic facts you should know about uninstalling programs:

  • Windows 7 warns you if you attempt to remove a program while other users are logged on. For safety’s sake, you should always completely log off any other user accounts before attempting to remove a program.

  • Many uninstall programs leave a few traces of the programs behind, either inadvertently or by design. For instance, programs that create data files typically do not remove custom user settings and data files as part of the uninstall process.

  • You can remove programs using Control Panel only if they were originally installed with a Windows-compatible setup program. Some older programs and simple utilities work by copying their files to a folder. In this case, you uninstall the program by manually removing its files and shortcuts.

  • In some cases, a poorly written uninstall routine might leave a phantom entry behind in the list of installed programs, even after it has successfully removed all traces of the program itself. When you click such an entry in Control Panel, Windows offers to remove the orphaned entry from the list. If that doesn’t work for some reason, you can remove entries manually by using Registry Editor. Detailed instructions are available in Knowledge Base article 314481, “How to Manually Remove Programs from the Add or Remove Programs Tool” (w7io.com/0504). Although written for Windows XP, the procedure also applies to Windows 7.